CARSON CITY – A bill curtailing the use of “puppy mills” passed out of committee today, leaving it one Assembly floor vote away from reaching the governor’s desk.
After amendments, Senate Bill 299 would allow local governments to require dog and cat breeders to obtain a permit. The breeder’s workplace would also be open for inspection, and breeders would be required not to breed female dogs younger than 18 months or more than once per year.
In past hearings, the bill had received much public interest. In the Senate, the bill passed in a 16 to 5 vote.
“I got more emails on [Senate Bill] 299 then I think I’ve gotten on taxation and I think the budgets,” said Assemblyman Kelly Kite, R-Minden.
An amendment from Assemblywoman Maggie Carlton, D-Las Vegas, ensured that the bill’s numerous requirements do not apply to anyone who breeds cats or dogs as a hobby.
“”The legislative intent is not to restrict the good quality breeders who I know are out there,” Kite said. “I’ve been hunting since I was 10 years old and you need those kind of breeders to get those dogs out there. This, as I see it, is for the bad puppy mills.”
In an attempt to curb abusive practices, the bill would also require commercial breeders to insert a tracking microchip into their dogs and cats as well as vaccinate all of their animals for rabies.
Other sections of the bill establish requirements for the cleanliness, temperature, safety and size of areas where commercial breeders keep animals.
Kite did not like some of the restrictions, saying they were “over-protective.”
He did, however, vote for the bill.
“If we get rid of the abusive, nasty, horrible puppy mills … I will go along with it reluctantly,” Kite said.
Assemblywoman Irene Bustamante-Adams, D- Las Vegas, also said she had some reservations about the bill, especially the section requiring breeders to insert microchips into their animals.
But she also supported the bill.
“There’s a saying in this building: We don’t let perfect be the enemy of the good,” Carlton said to Kite and Bustamante-Adams, who are both freshmen legislators.